Brett Favre has broken his silence regarding his alleged involvement in a major welfare fraud case in his home state of Mississippi. The Pro Football Hall of Famer is pointing the finger at the media while explaining that he has “done nothing wrong.”
Favre is one of 38 people or companies the state of Mississippi is suing in an attempt to regain $24 million of the $77 million lost in federal welfare money.
The 53-year-old helped raise money for a new volleyball center at the University of Southern Miss, his alma mater. He is specifically being linked to a $5 million grant for the facility in which the funding came from a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare fund through the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC), a nonprofit headed by Nancy New.
Favre has denied knowing that the $5 million came via a welfare fund.
“I have been unjustly smeared in the media,” Favre said in a statement provided exclusively to Fox News Digital. “I have done nothing wrong, and it is past time to set the record straight.
“No one ever told me, and I did not know, that funds designated for welfare recipients were going to the University or me. I tried to help my alma mater USM, a public Mississippi state university, raise funds for a wellness center. My goal was and always will be to improve the athletic facilities at my university.”
“State agencies provided the funds to Nancy New’s charity, the Mississippi Community Education Center, which then gave the funds to the University, all with the full knowledge and approval of other State agencies, including the State-wide Institute for Higher Learning, the Governor’s office and the Attorney General’s office.
Favre Is A Member Of The 2016 Pro Football Hall Of Fame Class
State auditor Shad White was the first to discover the misspending and fraud, but told Fox News that there is no documentation showing that Favre knew that the money was coming from a welfare fund. He did, however, know that it was an agency that handles “programs that are geared toward helping the poor.”
One of the most noteworthy bullet points in all of this is Favre receiving $1.1 million for fundraising, which he gave the university to go toward the volleyball center.
“After I found out the money I was paid for fundraising radio spots came from federal welfare funds, I returned all of it,” Favre’s statement to Fox News Digital continued.
He’s returned that $1.1 million, but has yet to pay back the interest, which is the reason the state is suing the former quarterback. Favre raised that $1.1 million by giving various speeches, which White claims never happened while Favre’s legal team claims he was paid for every speech that was requested and never paid for a “no show” event.
White says when asked if he had given the speeches and made appearances, Favre said he did not.
Brett Favre Text Messages Leave A Paper Trail
Recently discovered text messages between Favre and New, who has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of bribery and fraud, show it was Favre’s idea to record commercials to raise more money for the volleyball facility, which had gone over budget.
“If you were to pay me is there anyway for the media can find out where it came from and how much?” Favre asked New in an October 2017 text message.
“No, we never had that information publicized,” New responded. “I understand you being uneasy about that though. Let’s see what happens on Monday with the conversation with some of the folks at Southern. Maybe it will click with them. Hopefully.”
These newly discovered text messages suggest that he didn’t want any information to come out as he knew it would not be favorable for him or his reputation.
Favre’s attorney, Erich Herschmann, reiterated to Fox News that his client did not have any knowledge that the money came from a welfare fund. Favre was more concerned about the public learning that he was being paid by a not-for-profit, according to his attorney.
The former Green Bay Packer has not been criminally charged.